Trip Start Feb 27, 2010
Trip End Mar 31, 2010

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Where I stayed
The Guest House

Flag of Chile  , Lake District,
Friday, March 12, 2010

12 March
Our bus to Chile left at 12 noon so we went to the local museum before heading off to the bus station. The Andesmar bus was a comfortable double decker “semi-cama” with reclining seats and we had front seats at the top so had a great view, once we had finished chuntering about the tip unexpectedly demanded by the man loading the bags in.  We later realised these 'bag loaders' were probably casual labourers reliant entirely on tips The lunch pack provided was not great and the coffee was dreadful. To call it sweet would be a serious understatement. The border crossing was quite tedious and all the luggage had to be off loaded from the bus and put through an X-ray machine. The scenery on the Chilean side was much greener than on the Argentinian side. We were told that the annual rainfall is 4000mm in Chile and 300mm in Argentina.
As we approached Puerto Varas there was a great view of Osorno volcano.  The bus dropped us off on the outskirts of P-V , we gave some Chilean currency in exchange for USD to an Israeli/ American fellow traveller and walked down the hill to “The Guest House” where we were staying for the next three nights. Considering that it is owned by an American couple, we were surprised to find that there wasn't any English spoken when we arrived. The house was a lovely old timber building although the bathrooms were small and the hot water a bit erratic. There was a communal table for breakfast which was a good way of getting to know the other guests, although things were a bit quiet as there had been a lot of cancellations due to the earthquake. Sobering to read in the Visitors' Book a first-hand account of the night of the earthquake, written by British guests staying at the time.

Walked down to the lake front in the evening – lovely view of the Volcano but unfortunately didn't have the camera and from then on it was obscured by cloud – typical!

13 March
The Guest House said they could do our laundry for us. This was tremendously helpful at that point in our trip and meant we didn't have to seek out the local Launderette after all.
Took a local bus to Puerto Montt to pick up the hire car and also to buy tickets for the bus from Temuco to Santiago. Had trouble persuading the ticket office that we didn't need a ticket to Temuco! P-M was a bit hairy down by the bus station and the market – all on the sea front. Probably illusory and not helped by our first rain and the need to fill up with petrol immediately. We drove back to P-V and walked round the town to look at the historic German houses and then took the car to Puerto Octay at the north side of Lago Llanquihue and on to Fruitillar – quite a resort feeling to this place.  Weather threatening.
Had a very nice meal at Corks – Tapas and local beer, served by particularly friendly waitress.
14 March
Drove along the south shore of the lake to Ensenada, the Petrohue falls and on to Lago Todos los Santos. Impressive lava and ash flows from Volcan Osorno. There was a nature trail through the woods with informative boards. Had boat trip on the lake – extremely beautiful. Drove on to the Reloncavi fjiord but once we reached it the road started to deteriorate rapidly and so we turned back. Ate at Danes Cafe whereupon there was a power cut – just like Greece!  Resolutely finished our ice-cream, then returned to find the Guest House lit by candles. Subsequently learned that the whole of Chile had been blacked out – possible spin-off of the earthquake.

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